WTB Vigilante 29″ TCS version.
The WTB Vigilante is a moderately fat 2.3″ tire, that is sticky, durable and pliable, and it comes in all the current sizes. It has some impressive characteristics, including great traction and braking qualities, amazing adhesion on rock slabs, predictability in any condition or terrain, and decent rolling and acceleration for a big tire. The combination of the tough and durable sidewalls and open tread with a soft compound, makes for an excellent tire for Enduro racing, loose conditions and rocky infused terrain.
The WTB Vigilante is a 2.3″ Enduro tire, that comes in 26″, 650b and 29″ sizes. The All Mountain beef Meister uses an aggressive open block tread design, is TCS (Tubeless Compatible System), and is available two different compounds, the Dual DNA (all sizes) with a base of 60a and outer of 50a and the Team Issue Gravity DNA (26 and 650b only) with a base of 60a and softer outer of 45a. The tires have three different sidewall protection systems; the normal TCS version (all sizes) gets a tough and protective nylon casing, while the 29er gets an optional AM version which is reinforced with their Inner Peace rubber insert for additional abrasion and damage support, and the Team Issue version (26 and 650b only) gets their ulta tough Enduro casing, which uses the Inner Peace insert and the cut-resistant Silver Lining. The tires retail in price from $64.95 to $76.95, depending the chosen model. I tested the TCS version of the 650b and 29″.
WTB Vigilante open tread design, note the square shape, and alternating center knobs and tiered shoulder and sides.
My local testing terrain is predominantly loose rocky conditions, with many long steep climbs and descents, rock gardens, slick rock, an occasional smooth singletrack and lots of ugly, loose gravel. I tend to enjoy gnarly technical terrain, where precise steering and maneuvering are required and intricate follow-through, and full commitment is required. This was an unusual year, and the typical dry conditions were interspersed with lots of moisture, so the tires got lots of wet condition testing, though no overtly deep mud. I used the tire on my Ibis Ripley 29er and Mojo HD (650b mode), and although they worked well on either bike, and I have especially liked them on the 29er. Personal stats: 5’9″ and 160 lbs.
The Vigilantes are an aggressive All Mountain design with an open tread pattern and large square lugs, and the profile measured out to a knob width of 2.34″ and a 2.28″ carcass. They weighed 870g and 867g for the 650b version, and 816g and 812g for the 29er, though I am not sure why the 29″ size came in at a lower weight? They have an alternating set of single and dual knobs down the center, and one inner shoulder knob between two side ones, and all of them are deeply sipped. I ran them tubeless, since that is always my preference for any tire, as it offers a better feel, no pinch flats and allows lower pressures to be run.
They weren’t difficult to set up tubeless with my compressor, and though sidewalls were flexible, the bead was tough to pry onto the rim. I added one mini bottle of sealant to each tire after the initial inflation to aid with any leaks, and to make sure it sealed any tire and rim interface issues. I never had any leakage, loss of air and burping problems while running them tubeless. I tested the tires with a huge variance of pressures, but found the lower the better, and tended to keep them at 22 psi, as that’s where they really started to purr and come to life.
Make no mistake, this is a big tire that has a large footprint and volume, and along with their tread design, it gives great traction, braking and cornering on just about anything, including loose gravel and dirt, in wet or dry conditions. When you toss the tires deeply over they hook up nicely, and they love to fly through big berms like they’re on a rail. Even when the front end would lightly wash out occasionally, it did so in a predictable manner, and you never felt a loss of control. They roll and accelerate decently for their size, and they never felt ponderous, though they definitely aren’t cross-country race machines.
Even though the tire doesn’t feel that soft, it’s very pliable and conforming, and when motoring up and down through gnarly terrain, including ledges, rock gardens, roots and slabs, it offers great traction and composure and steering. One big highlight is that they stuck like glue on rock slabs and slick rock, giving one impressive braking and traction capabilities, even on extremely steep pitches. I used them in wet sand, gravel and some mud, and they adhered to rocks and roots without any undue slippage, and they worked especially well on wet rocks.
I have tossed them into some ugly terrain, everything from burly rock gardens to bike parks, and I have as yet suffered any sidewall’s tears or damage. The tread has been very durable, and though it has some normal wear and tear, no knob has torn off as yet.
WTB Vigilante installed on the Ibis Ripley 29er bike.
This is one of my favorite tires of late, and I have used it in technical rock gardens, long rides, bike parks and Enduro races, and it has always shone no matter what terrain or condition it was tossed into. Although the sidewalls seem on the thin side, I never had any issues with tears or abrasions, and the knobs have been very durable for a meaty and sticky tire. It rolls decently for such a big tire, though it’s not an x-country racer. The open tread design and square knobs offer great traction, braking and cornering, and the pliable, sticky and conformable rubber compound provides composure, control and steering throughout any sort of gnarly terrain. Some highlights are the tires amazing glue like qualities on rock slabs and slick rock, and its predictability, meaning even when it gets unnerved or washes out, you know what’s going to happen and can easily regain control.
The WTB Vigilante 2.3″ tire is sticky, durable and pliable, and its open tread design and square knobs, along with it large footprint and volume, offer great traction, braking and cornering.
- Superb on slickrock and rock slab
- Sticky, pliable and conformable tread and knobs
- Great traction, braking and cornering
- Durable tread
- Large footprint and volume
- Just decent rolling resistance and acceleration
- Front end can wash out on occasion
- Sidewalls aren’t the stoutest in normal TCS version
4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)